World Wide Web turns 30: Inventor Tim Berners-Lee on what's next

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee issued a call for input on how to make the web safer, more equitable and more accessible in a March 12 blog post celebrating the web's 30th anniversary.

"The web has become a public square, a library, a doctor's office, a shop, a school, a design studio, an office, a cinema, a bank and so much more. Of course, with every new feature, every new website, the divide between those who are online and those who are not increases, making it all the more imperative to make the web available for everyone," Mr. Berners-Lee wrote.

He sees three key sources of dysfunction on the web: malicious actors, such as hackers or trolls; revenue models that promote clickbait and misinformation; and polarized discourse.

The first source of dysfunction can be minimized with laws, though probably never entirely eliminated, according to Mr. Berners-Lee. The second requires a system redesign to realign incentives, and the third requires research.

"The fight for the web is one of the most important causes of our time," Mr. Berners-Lee wrote. "Today, half of the world is online. It is more urgent than ever to ensure the other half are not left behind offline, and that everyone contributes to a web that drives equality, opportunity and creativity."

Mr. Berners-Lee's World Wide Web Foundation is working this year to create a "Contract for the Web" to establish norms, laws and standards to govern the web and address these sources of dysfunction. The foundation is seeking input from governments, businesses and individuals.

Learn more here.

 

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